Luxury River Cruising in Italy

Italy is one of the world’s most beautiful and culturally rich destinations, and Uniworld’s luxurious, all-inclusive cruise/tours celebrate the very best of this extraordinary country. Discover key landmarks and hidden gems, authentic encounters, and incredible food and wine on an intimate journey that embraces Italy’s irresistible la dolce vita. See it all from the perspective of our enhanced and expanded 10-day “Gems of Northern Italy” itinerary from Milan to Venice, or our 15-day "Splendours of Italy" from Milan to Rome.


The Best Address in Venice

Morning sunshine glitters on the water outside your window. Outside, the call of seagulls, a man’s voice singing, the staccato drone of a vaporetto. Cheerful voices drift on the breeze. Ciao! Prego! Scuzi! Stretching yourself awake after a long and restful slumber on a bed hand-crafted by Savoir® of England—purveyor to Europe’s finest hotels—and you pause to wonder, “Where am I?” Ah yes, you’re in Italy, on the one-of-a-kind River Countess, an exquisite floating boutique hotel with the best address in the city—Venice’s luminous Grand Canal.


Awe-Inspiring Art & Architecture

You arrived here from Milan, where your adventure commenced, an in-depth exploration of some of the world’s greatest artistic and architectural treasures. You remember feeling the centuries melt away as you gazed in wonder upon Da Vinci’s revolutionary wall mural, the original The Last Supper, one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. Seeing it firsthand was a “bucket list moment” for any patron of the arts…with many more such moments yet to come.


Once-in-a-Lifetime Moments

Today in Venice, you’ll experience a private after-hours visit inside St. Mark’s Basilica, blissfully free of the massive daytime crowds. You are eager to see the interior of this splendid structure, resplendently illuminated so that its magnificent mosaics shimmer in the light. Beneath your feet are intricately patterned floors made with tiny marble and mosaic tiles; ahead, the famous altarpiece made by Byzantine artisans, gilded and decorated with precious gems. Another highlight of your stay in Venice? An exclusive “Venetian Painters at the Accademia” tour with an art historian guide.

“Our private tour of St. Mark’s Basilica….what an incredibly special experience this was for all the guests. It was simply magical.”
Aida Vincelli, A Luxury Travel Blog, 2015
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From hearty rustic fare to private tastings to artisanal delights, our Gems of Northern Italy itinerary will delight even the most discerning palates. Explore historic cities and picturesque towns that offer incredible (and delicious) insights into the region’s culture and cuisine. Breathe in the salt-infused air of Chioggia as you harvest—and eat!—your own fresh-from-the-sea mussels. Savor the unique wines and flavors of the Valpolicella region at a wine estate owned by descendants of Dante Alighieri. Enjoy a full-day excursion to Bologna, where you’ll make your own pasta at a hands-on workshop. And discover the islands of Venice’s lagoon, including Mazzorbo, home to a rare golden-hued wine made from Dorona grapes, highly prized during the Renaissance.


For spiritual seekers, a journey to Italy is—in a word—sublime. In Milan, get a firsthand look at one of Da Vinci’s greatest works, the original The Last Supper, possibly the world’s best-known religious painting. Venture inside St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice on an exceptionally rare after-hours visit available exclusively to Uniworld guests. Visit the Venetian island of Torcello and its Byzantine-style basilica adorned with stunning mosaics of the Virgin Mary and the Last Judgment—we’ve arranged an exclusive early opening so you can admire them in complete privacy. Guests on our Splendours of Italy itinerary can continue their adventure in Florence and Rome, exploring the marvelous artwork within the Vatican Museums and St. Paul’s Basilica, as well as Michelangelo’s stunning Sistine Chapel frescoes.


Our 10-day Gems of Italy cruise/tour provides an in-depth look at cultural traditions that have endured for centuries. The colorful island of Burano, for example—one of Venice’s most enchanting outer islands—is famous for its lace, a beautiful art form requiring vast amounts of patience and absurdly nimble fingers. The women of the island have been experts at making intricately patterned lace since the 1400s, when Leonardo da Vinci himself visited Burano to shop for cloth. Elsewhere in the city, there are a mind-boggling number of artisan workshops and galleries devoted to hand-blown glass and exquisitely crafted Venetian masks, many of which are meticulously hand-painted, gilded in gold leaf and decorated with natural feathers and semi-precious gems.


For art and architecture aficionados with a bit more time to linger, Uniworld’s Splendours of Italy continues on from Venice to visit Florence—the birthplace of the Renaissance—and the “Eternal City” of Rome. In Florence, admire some of the city’s most glorious monuments, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Florence Baptistry, the Uffizi Gallery, the Piazza della Repubblica, the Ponte Vecchio and Santa Croce and cross the Arno to see the Pitti Palace and the old merchant quarter. In Rome, explore the ancient Colosseum and Forum and take in the majesty of the Sistine Chapel, with its spectacular ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo, and St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in Rome and one of the largest in the world. After an exciting day of sightseeing stroll the streets of the city after dark, when fashionable locals gather under the stars at chic eateries. Buona notte, Italia!

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